Sucking carbon dioxide out of the atmosphere is the world’s only chance to avoid climate change disaster, according to a report due to be released Monday.
The paper by the United Nations’ Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) is expected to say that dangerous climate change will be avoided only if vast quantities of carbon dioxide are removed from the air, the Times of London reported.
“Carbon dioxide removal is necessary to achieve net-zero greenhouse gas emissions globally and nationally,” a draft version of the summary report said, according to The Times. If “negative emission” technologies fulfill their potential, it continues, they could even enable a reversal of global warming.
However, carbon-capturing technology is nowhere near where it needs to be. Today, 19 operational plants capture only 10,000 tons of carbon dioxide a year, compared to the 36 billion tons the world produces annually, according to the report.
But the report, commissioned and endorsed by 195 governments, acknowledges that the only “negative emissions” strategy currently used on a mass scale is tree planting.
Scientists are working on other techniques, including air capture or giant fans extracting carbon dioxide from the air and storing it underground or converting it into jet fuel.
Other possible tactics, The Times reported, include fertilization of the ocean, a theoretical approach in which nutrients are added to the sea to stimulate phytoplankton that take up CO2 from the air, and “enhanced weathering,” in which crushed volcanic rock is spread over farmland to boost the soil’s ability to absorb carbon dioxide.
"The 19 direct air capture plants in operation around the world are capturing only 10,000 tonnes of CO2 a year at present, compared with the 36 billion tonnes emitted annually."
What a joke… and human emissions are more like 66 billion tons per year.https://t.co/feX3q1On7G
— Steve Milloy (@JunkScience) April 3, 2022
Today's CO2 capture LOL:
"So far the @Climeworks plant can capture only about 4,000 tons each year, roughly equivalent to the annual emissions of 600 people living in Europe."
— Steve Milloy (@JunkScience) April 5, 2022
The world’s biggest facility for removing carbon dioxide directly from the air is running behind schedule in Iceland, after punishing Arctic conditions froze machinery and forced the Swiss company behind it to make modifications https://t.co/pD1PUtzTFB
— Adam Vaughan (@adamvaughan_uk) April 12, 2022